New train station opens for business in Rochester

Rochester's new train station is officially open for business. (WHAM photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP/WHAM) -- Rochester's new train station is officially open for business.

"Finally we're brought to the 21st-century here in Rochester with our new train station," said Chris Wilmot. "What should've happened probably 17 years ago or longer."

Mathew Trevisani is a freshman at the U of R.

"This is way more professional than I'm used to," Trevisani said. "So, I'm impressed. It's very nice and inviting."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined local leaders such as Rep. Louise Slaughter, a fellow Democrat, and other state officials for Friday's grand opening of the new station in downtown Rochester.

"We want to make sure that our new businesses that form here will be able to move people and goods when they need to be able to in a hurry," said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

Work on the new station began three years ago this month with the start of the demolition of the previous facility, built in 1978 and intended to be a temporary station. During construction of the new station a large trailer served as a temporary station next door.

The new station is a hub for Amtrak passenger trains as well as CSX freight trains.

The design of the new Rochester Station was created in homage to Rochester's old Bragdon Station, which was built on the site of the new station in 1914 and demolished in 1965. A station Gary Bippes remembers.

"My grandfather worked for New York Central," he said as a train conductor. "It was every summer he would take me on the train and let me sit up by the engine."

On Friday, he passed the tradition along to his four year old grandson, Collin.

"I want to do the same for my grandson," he said. "So today were going to go to Buffalo and then, tomorrow, Niagara Falls."

Collin can't wait.

"Really, realm excited."

The new station is approximately 9,500 square feet, compared to the former 7,200 square foot station. Passengers waiting to board trains and buses will see murals of Rochester hang over the ticketing counter.

Among the other new features at the station is a high-level, two-sided platform that will allow more traffic for trains to simultaneously arrive and depart from the station.

Finishing work and landscaping will be completed this year.

Gov. Cuomo, citing improvements at the local airport and the city's burgeoning photonics industry, said there's now "a different Rochester" than what residents had just a few years ago.

The new station, passenger concourse, platform and passenger information display systems are all fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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